Philadelphia Union fell to FC Dallas, 2-0, at PPL Park on Saturday night in front of 16,031 fans. Tesho Akindele and Ryan Hollingshead had the goals for FC Dallas, both of which came during the second with the Union playing with 10 men. Zach Pfeffer was issued a red card in the 42nd minute. The match was originally scheduled for Friday night, but was postponed due to inclement weather.
“I thought the game had a good tempo to it, good start,” head coach Jim Curtin said. “I thought we had some good chances in the first 10 minutes. We had some real good looks at goal. We were kind of clinical with our chance. The red card happens and from there, credit to Dallas, they out-played us from that point on. They’re a good team and anytime you’re going to play down a man with stoppage time it’s going to be difficult.”
The Union controlled the run of play for most of the first half hour, including a scoring chance in the 7th minute for Zach Pfeffer. A long-throw from Sheanon Williams started the attack, which was held up by Fernando Aristeguieta. After he played Sebastien Le Toux through up along the sideline, Le Toux sent Pfeffer in one-on-one, but his shot was saved by Chris Seitz.
Williams was then injured in the 22nd minute with a strained hamstring and had to come out. Fabinho was subbed in.
“It hurts – injuries are always going to affect you because now you’re going to your bench,” Curtin said. “The decision was going to be making Castillo defend him a little bit. Castillo is going to get forward but at the same time it left some space open.”
In the 29th minute, Andrew Wenger streaked down the left sideline and had his ensuing shot blocked. It deflected down to Maurice Edu who ripped one from 25 yards out that forced another save from Seitz. The play continued as Edu forced a turnover and immediately sent a ball in the box that Aristeguieta headed over.
But about 15 minutes later, Pfeffer and Mauro Diaz collided on a loose ball near midfield, and Pfeffer’s elbow caught Diaz in the face. Referee Jose Carlos Rivero issued Pfeffer a red card.
“I’ll have to look at the tape again but it’s two short guys running full speed,” Curtin said. “Diaz looked to make a sharp cut back and there is a contact with the face. That was a big crack down. We always have these initiatives in the off season with what they’re [referees] going to crack down on and that was one of them so I guess maybe it was premature to immediately flash the red.”
It was scoreless at halftime, but FC Dallas soon capitalized playing up a man. In the 49th minute, Tesho Akindele blocked an attempted clearance from Fabinho, and Akindele streaked in after the free ball. He picked it up near the edge of the box and beat Rais Mbolhi to put his team up 1-0.
In the 59th minute, FC Dallas strung together a few passes to get deep in the Union half, but it was an errant pass that fell to Hollingshead, also around the edge of the box, who made no mistake with his opportunity and beat Mbolhi to his right for a 2-0 lead.
Making his debut for the Union tonight was Eric Ayuk Mbu, the 18-year-old Cameroonian midfielder came on in the 74th minute for Andrew Wenger and made an impact down the left flank.
The Union move to 0-1-2 on the season. They play Chicago Fire on Sunday night in Bridgeview, Ill. for a national televised game on ESPN2.
“We have to go on the road and get a result now,” Curtin said. “We’ve got behind the eight ball but you have to win your home games. Ideally, I had us on six points in three games. We’re on two points now but the goal was a least six or more so we’re behind. We have to go somewhere now and win on the road.”
FC Dallas 2, Philadelphia Union 0
FCD – Tesho Akindele 49’
FCD – Ryan Hollingshead 59’
PHI – Nogueira (yellow) 23’
FCD – Michel (yellow) 26’
FCD – Ulloa (yellow) 31’
PHI – Fabinho (yellow) 32’
PHI – Pfeffer (red) 42’
PHI – Le Toux (yellow) 86’
FCD – Hollingshead (yellow) 90+1’
UNION STARTING XI
Rais Mbolhi, Raymon Gaddis, Steven Vitoria, Ethan White (Lahoud 81’), Sheanon Williams (Fabinho 22’), Maurice Edu, Vincent Nogueira, Andrew Wenger (Ayuk 74’), Zach Pfeffer, Sebastien Le Toux, Fernando Aristeguieta.
FC DALLAS STARTING XI
Chris Seitz, Atiba Harris, Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges, Moises Hernandez, Victor Ulloa, Michel (Hollingshead 45’), Tesho Akindele, Mauro Diaz (Texeira 87’), Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez (Bekker 79’).
Jose Carlos Rivero (referee), Peter Manikowski (assistant), Eric Weisbrod (assistant), Robert Sibiga (fourth).